Your Daily Bernie Bits for Friday, May 23...
1. Nearing the end of May, it's still too early to seriously consider trade options for the Cardinals. Teams normally don't begin taking account of their roster in preparation of trade possibilities until late June, or early July. There's still ample time for evaluation. The Cardinals' strengths, weaknesses and needs may change between now and July. But just for kicks, let's take a preliminary look.
While all teams could use a tweaking or an adjustment, let's think about a more ambitious search for upgrades. If we look at the Cardinals in their current state, GM John Mozeliak presumably would be thinking about adding a home-run bat. The low power has been the team's most obvious hole so far. But if Mozeliak plans to make prospect Oscar Taveras a factor in the season's second half, does that mean he'll be less inclined to pursue a power bat? Maybe so.
Including prospects Taveras, Randal Grichuk, Stephen Piscotty and James Ramsey, the Cardinals already have too many outfielders to slide into available playing-time opportunities. But depending on how Kolten Wong is playing at 2B, the Cardinals could approach this another way by checking the market for a power-hitting third baseman – moving Matt Carpenter back to second base if necessary.
This one may be a little out there in terms of breaking away from conventional wisdom, but I wouldn't be surprised if Mozeliak decided to make a play for a formidable starting pitcher. On the surface that seems counterintuitive, because the Cardinals already have one of the best rotations in the majors. So why would they need a starting pitcher? It isn't a matter of need. It's a matter of choosing to take a team strength and make it even more dominant. It would come out of the desire to load up and put another top-gun starter with Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha. It's plotting ahead to give your team the best possible starting-pitching matchups for the postseason.
Stingier run prevention is always a fine way to try and compensate for an inconsistent offense.
One thing is certain: Mozeliak has plenty of trade pieces to put in play.
2. A follow-up on something I wrote in a column earlier this week about the Blues' decision to go with Jake Allen and Brian Elliott in goal next season. I'm not assuming that Allen will be the de facto No. 1 goaltender. But for the sake of conversation, let's say that Allen becomes the primary goalie. Allen is 23, and I wonder about his youth and inexperience. So I did some research to see if experience matters in goal during the Stanley Cup playoffs. The answer: not really. Talent matters. And getting hot at the right time matters. But having an inexperienced goaltender doesn't doom a team or reduce its chances for success. In the NHL post-expansion era , teams have won 10 Stanley Cups with No. 1 goaltenders age 24 or younger. Another seven teams reached the Stanley Cup final with a young starting goaltender. And during this era, 15 goaltenders had at least 15 postseason wins through the end of their age-24 season. Sure, there are some Hall of Famers on this list. But there's also names like Cam Ward, Ray Emery and Mike Vernon.
3. In another Blues note: Paul Stastny, please.
Perfect? No. Upgrade? Yes.
4. The Cardinals have made up a lot of ground (quickly) on the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers' lead is down to 1.5 games. I hadn't checked the playoff-report odds at Baseball Prospectus for a while, but took a look this morning. BP gives the Cardinals a 57.4 percent chance to win the division, and a 69.5 percent shot at making the playoffs. The corresponding numbers for the Brewers are 29 percent (division) and 48 percent (playoffs.) Cincinnati and Pittsburgh better get busy. The Reds currently have a 17 percent chance to make the postseason; the Pirates' have an 8.3 percent shot.
5. The next time you feel inclined to rip professional athletes for their humongous salaries and criticize them for being overpaid to play a game … just remember that Adam Sandler is releasing another film. And the film will be similar to the last 10 or 25 or 37 films he's already recycled. The movie will be simply awful. Doesn't matter; idiot studio heads will contract yet another new Sandler film, and they will be just like all of the others, and Sandler's estimated net worth of $300 million will increase. I'm not a hater; Sandler is a nice guy and I'm happy for anyone who attains success. But I'm not sure why so many of us lose our minds when an athlete gets a $100 million contract - but say nothing when entertainers command even larger contracts for doing inferior work.
Thanks for reading …